Dr. Hummer did not rely on patient labor alone to hold down his costs at the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians. Like many others in the federal service, he took advantage of government surplus products to stretch his supply dollar. At least in this area, he had an advantage over his fellow asylum superintendents, since only one other insane asylum (St. Elizabeths) was within the federal system.
Items held by Indian schools, Army posts and the like, sometimes became surplus. The items would be listed and passed along to other federal agencies, who could then pick out any useful items for their own facilities. In March, 1923, Dr. Hummer was able to snag (among other items) 22 pairs of men’s winter drawers, size 44; 60 pairs of men’s winter drawers, size 42; and over 200 undershirts of various sizes.
The pictures here represent the types of items available through the surplus system. Dr. Hummer did pick up 48 surplus Army cots for 30 cents each in August, 1923, though no pictures exist of the supplies he actually used.